kalouts1 wrote:Just checked for a "room" for CHI ==> REN, it is kind of expensive: I have to add $382 on top. More expensive than the whole trip...
Although it may not be ideal, I think it may be cheaper to do the sleeper ("Superliner Roomette" with access to common showers) for one "leg" rather than the whole trip. I coerced the online ticketing system by making a multi-city trip (if you do one leg at a time, it's a lot more).
I just started planning out my trip. I have lots of "Amtrak Guest Rewards" points from a credit card that I use for business a lot. However, you can sign up for the guest rewards program for free and earn points, or you can buy them. There's a promotion until the end of June with a 30% perk, so the points regularly go for $27.50 for 1,000, but now it's $27.50 for 1,300 (or $21.15 for 1,000). A roomette is 15,000 points for 1 zone, 20,000 points for 2 zones, or 35,000 points for 3 zones (there are three zones in the country, from the Pacific to Denver, Denver to Chicago, and from Chicago to the Atlantic). It seems the roomettes cost about $325 per zone over the cost of coach (with no apparent advantage to going 1, 2, or 3 zones.)
So if you were to pay for a roomette for two zones, it would cost about $650 more than coach (although the prices go all over the board, seemingly at random). But it's "only" 20,000 points for two zones, or, if you buy them, $423. And that includes the ticket price.
In other words, as of the May 15 message I posted, a roomette from Chicago to Reno would cost $625, but if you do the same thing only buying points, it's $423.